I’ve had the opportunity to write for a few notable industry journals, and I’ve been asked a number of times how this came to be by those wanting to get into it. I’ll sum it up.
TLDR: Just ask. Everyone is nice.
I’ve had a few opportunities to write elsewhere. Here’s how it worked for me:
- I got started with Six Revisions by sharing ideas in the comments, the editor Jacob emailed me asking me to elaborate in a post. It was great!
- I got to write for Echo Enduring through chatting on Twitter
- I wrote for a Responsive Design blog by meeting the guy at a conference
- I got to write for CSS Tricks because Chris loved my front-page and asked me to write
- I got asked to write for Codrops, Web Design Depot, Smashing Magazine and about ten others coz they saw me on CSS Tricks! The exposure snowballs the opportunities.
I’ve been extremely fortunate, but I now know for a fact you don’t have to wait to be asked:
- ALL of these kind of sites need consistent quality content.
- All of the sites I mention are run by SUPER DUPER nice people.
- There are great industry sites for ideas of all levels of expertise. Even if you’re just getting started there are outlets for you to start sharing.
My advice is to just be writing. When you have a post ready, contact the one site you think it would fit best at, and ask if you can send your draft. If they don’t have a contact form on their site tweet them!
Writing goes hand-in-hand with reading; get a sense of what some of these sites are about by reading their content. You’ll start to get a feel for what a site’s expertise level and audience is like by joining the conversation as a user first.
I find life goes through cycles of availability. You probably won’t always be able to write (when that kid gets older your free time disappears for the best reasons), so if writing interests you today and you have any time, do it.
The day you get published can result in fun in the comments, on Twitter, and in general soaking up ideas, conversations, and meeting new people. Just remember that this “web fame” isn’t your identity; don’t let this define you, and don’t get too wrapped up in what others think. Pride has hooks! I admit at times I got too wrapped up in caring what people online thought of me, which is a bad place to be for when the trolls come.
Ah, the trolls. You may find you didn’t think of everything, and that’s ok. It’s not always helpful, but if you keep an open mind it can be. As a result of some of my writing I’ve been name-dropped in WIRED and .Net magazine (which have broader audiences), and had some really great conversations in the comments in which some holes in my thinking got pointed out. This kind of conversation is actually one of the best things about our industry.
This industry is founded on idea sharing and teaching, so if you have an itch to start writing, do it now. Like right now.